10 December 2008

A good cause for the day, with a way to help right away

My friend sent out the following this morning:

I don't usually forward mass email campaigns but I feel very strongly about this issue. 350.org, an international climate campaign, is calling on people all over the world to take action to safeguard the survival of all countries and peoples by signing the "Survival Declaration."

They're on the ground at the UN Climate talks in Poland right now, and they need our help to put pressure on the delagates from the wealthier countries on higher ground not to forsake the island nations that have the most to lose if the oceans rise. The e-mail they sent me is below, or just go straight to their declaration here: http://www.350.org/survival

Thanks! Love, Jessica


Dear friends,

I'm writing again from the UN Climate talks in Poland, where one thing has become heartbreakingly apparent: for some people, these negotiations aren't just about numbers and compromise and diplomacy. For some people, these negotiations are about survival.

People toss around a lot of lofty words at the UN, so let me be clear. I'm not talking about "survival" as an abstract concept, or some distant problem for future generations. I'm talking about countries and peoples getting quite literally wiped off the map within decades. I'm talking about human lives and livelihoods being destroyed by the impacts of climate change here and now.

Here's the worst part: the countries facing the biggest impacts of climate change are also the countries most poorly represented here in the United Nations.
With the static of the UN and the distractions of a 24-hour news cycle, the countries fighting on the front lines of climate change struggle to get the attention they deserve. Case in point: last week 49 of the world's most vulnerable countries endorsed the 350 target that the latest science calls for. Instead of recognizing the importance of this call, some EU leaders have been backpedaling on their already weak climate commitments.
The time has come to change the conversation in Poland, to send one clear message that cuts through the static.
That's where you come in. If we come together, we can amplify the voices of the people who are most threatened by climate change.
Can you take a stand for survival by signing the pledge here? http://www.350.org/survival

Youth from around the world are spending the next 24 hours pressuring their country's UN negotiators to sign on to the very same same survival pledge--and their efforts will be made much easier if they have people like you supporting them from every corner of the earth.

We'll put your messages directly in front of world leaders by staging a high-profile delivery on the last day of the negotiations. This plan will only work if we get enough people signing on before the end of the week to make it count. With your help, we can make the "survival principle" a key message of the UN negotiations. And upon that principle, the world can build an equitable global climate agreement around science-based targets--targets like 350, the safe upper limit of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

When I landed in Poland for the UN Climate talks a week ago, I thought I knew what to expect: a few meetings, some beaurocratic backpedaling, and some frustratingly slow progress on a global climate treaty. I wasn't prepared for feeling moved, deeply, by the stories from those on the front lines of climate change. These are stories from countries like Kiribati and Tuvalu, island nations who are losing their crops and drinking water due to the ever encroaching sea. If climate change remains unchecked, by the time I retire there may be nothing left of these nations but waves.

We can prevent a climate catastrophe. The time has come for the world to stand together. Please join us.

Thanks for all that you do,

-Jon (and Bill, Jamie, Jeremy, Kelly, May, Phil, and Will and the entire 350 team)

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